Tag Archives: Media

Don’t Tread On Meme

Why The Ethos of the Digital Age Will Forever Contradict Governments’ Sovereignty

    In 1963, as U.S. Strategic Air Command finished a decade-long effort to replace its aging fleet of bombers with nuclear warhead-equipped Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), a secret report was prepared for President Kennedy. It highlighted the importance of command and control in the event of nuclear war with the Soviets. The document detailed a range of potential nuclear exchange scenarios in which the President would be faced with “decision points” over the course of 24 hours.

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Staff Editorial

Staff Editorial: Genders Just Wanna Have Fun!

Facebook sets the stage for gender inclusion

This month, Facebook added over 50 new gender options and by doing so, changed the way people have been forced to identify themselves on social media for the past ten years. Users will no longer be forced to conform to the gender binary of male and female. All one needs to do now is customize their gender, and Facebook will offer the multitude of options — including cis(gender), gender fluid, transsexual, and neither — in a drop-down menu. Not just that, Facebook users will now be given the choice to publicize their preferred pronoun for those who are not already aware. At the Foghorn office, we find this move to be progressive and a much-needed acknowledgement of the diverse range of genders on a widely used online platform by all generations.

Facebook

This month, Facebook added over 50 new gender options and by doing so, changed the way people have been forced to identify themselves on social media for the past ten years.

This shift in Facebook settings triggered a media circus. Bloggers and news sources took it upon themselves to identify all 56 new, gender options for those who were confused or unaware that there were so many ways one could identify; and the likes of Stephen Colbert interviewed acclaimed transsexual author and activist, Janet Mock.

Daniela Ricci, former Editor-in-chief of the Foghorn, identifies themself as genderqueer, and says “I’ve seen a lot of backlash from people who have never heard of non-binary gender identities before and consider it freakish, unnecessary, annoying, etc., which just goes to show that just because something is on Facebook, doesn’t make it automatically socially acceptable. I’ve also heard people in the queer community scoff at it and consider it a relatively meaningless action… I don’t think it’s revolutionary or anything, but I do think it’s a small step in the right direction of normalizing queer identities and making people like me feel as though there is a place for us in society.”

Users will no longer be forced to conform to the gender binary of male and female.

The fact is that while this change is a move forward, it comes with its own murky territory. Those who are unwilling to learn about gender and sex might alienate those who have decided to make known their gender identification. And there is no denying that others might abuse this new feature, thinking it as funny as getting creative with the ‘religious views’ and ‘political views’ section. This only means that we must take advantage of the timeliness of this Facebook move and push for more awareness and education of the struggles of those who affiliate with a multitude genders and sexes.

For more resources and educational material on related topics, please contact the USF Gender and Sexuality Center in UC 412, or email at gsc@usfca.edu.

Culturescape Transports Audience Around the World in Two Hours

ISA President Koyel Samtani, Vice President Tram Tran, and ISA advisor Marcella Deproto were MCs for this year’s Culturescape. (Photo by Binh Tran-Tu)

ISA President Koyel Samtani, Vice President Tram Tran, and ISA advisor Marcella Deproto were MCs for this year’s Culturescape. (Photo by Binh Tran-Tu)

The Hawaiian Ensemble performed two dance pieces that are both from Hawaiian and Tahitian culture.

The Hawaiian Ensemble performed two dance pieces that are both from Hawaiian and Tahitian culture.

The VarCity SF dance crew takes the stage by storm.

The VarCity SF dance crew takes the stage by storm.

Showcasing the various cultures of India, the Indian Student Organization performed a fusion of traditional and contemporary Indian dances like Bhangra, Garba and Bollywood.

Showcasing the various cultures of India, the Indian Student Organization performed a fusion of traditional and contemporary Indian dances like Bhangra, Garba and Bollywood.

At the end of the evening, all Culturescape performers came out on-stage for well-earned applause.

At the end of the evening, all Culturescape performers came out on-stage for well-earned applause.

Students went to McLaren Hall after the performances at the Presentation Theatre to feast on Filipino, Indian, Brazillian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Portuguese, and Salvadoran food.

Students went to McLaren Hall after the performances at the Presentation Theatre to feast on Filipino, Indian, Brazillian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Portuguese, and Salvadoran food.

All photos by Binh Tran-Tu

School of Race

School of Race: Racism in Education

Have your ever been discriminated against? How about as a child? Jocelyn Herrera in this audio piece produced by Diana Guardado explains to us her first encounter with racism at school for being Latina on May 1st, the day immigrants go out to march for their rights in this country.

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The Foghorn Calls for New Funding System

“Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public’s right to know.” 

- Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics

Journalists reporting for the San Francisco Foghorn are hindered from following this ethical code because of the way the newspaper is funded. The funding for the Foghorn is determined by USF’s student government, the Associated Students of the University of San Francisco Senate. Senate allocates the student activity fee, a $97 fee each student pays every semester, among different clubs and organizations on campus including student-run media outlets. The student government determining the funding for student media is a serious conflict of interest. The Foghorn has an obligation to provide its readers with relevant information — this includes information about the student government. Senate makes decisions that directly affect student life at USF; the students deserve to be made aware of such decisions. However, the Foghorn cannot provide accurate and fair coverage of Senate while the senators have the power to determine the newspaper’s funding. With this funding structure, Foghorn journalists are put in the unethical position of potentially having to censor themselves to insure the continuation of our publication.

Last May, Senate voted 7-6 to cut the Foghorn’s number of issues in half for the Fall 2013 semester. Senators chose to implement a review system for the newspaper, in which they will critique the issue to determine if it meets their standards

The decision of one student, in the 7-6 vote, was capable of censoring the voice of the hundreds of students who utilize the Foghorn as a means for expression. ASUSF senators are elected officials whose job it is to represent the students — they are a “voice” for the greater student body. So is the Foghorn. The student newspaper is a forum for student voice, and to have one representative student body silencing the voice of another is wrong. It is an unethical decision within an unethical system, fraught with conflicts of interest. Students are censoring other students by taking away the Foghorn’s ability to publish relevant, timely news. It seems as though Senate does not understand that what they are doing is inherently unethical — we believe that the time has come for the senators to be made aware of the impropriety of their decision. It is also time for a restructuring of the funding system for student media organizations.

The Foghorn budget can no longer be determined by the student government on which the Foghorn must report. It is a blatant conflict of interest that limits our ability to report honestly about Senate as long as they are providing our funding. Funding for media needs to be a set amount — a specific amount from each student’s fee, for example. The University must make changes to remove this conflict of interest in order to operate ethically and to allow their student journalists to report ethically as well.

Senate wants to evaluate the quality of the paper—deciding by their own standards what is worthy of publication. The media’s role is to inform and serve the public freely, with no government interference or censorship. A government-controlled press is not a free press.

Does the Media Create Our Identities?

After watching the documentary The Merchants of Cool, it took me back to the time of when I was in middle school and high school when I was trying to find myself through the music I listened to, the TV I watched, and the clothes I wore. Like most teenagers, I wanted something that was my own and original. But what generates this need for originality?

The media through TV ads, magazines, billboards and MTV have reflected what is “cool,” but once it is broadcasted to the world and becomes popular it then is deemed “uncool” by today’s youth. The marketing minds of big businesses have created a certain lifestyle for today’s youth but sometimes these impressionable minds are not aware that they are just the $150 billion market that every company wants a piece of. At what point are teens trying to find their own identity and trying to escape grasp of mainstream media?

Finding an identity is part of growing up. In high school I was the teen who for some reason was full of angst and liked going to underground rock shows and listening to bands no one else did. Finding the right outfit to go along with the lifestyle was also a need for me. Stores like Hot Topic became a staple for the band t-shirts I wore and where I would find the next CD I would blare constantly in my car. But was it really me seeking out to reflect this “rock chick” image or was it the media influencing what this look I was trying to portray should look like? Even though I enjoyed the clothes I was wearing and the music I was listening to, the television my peers and I were watching had a major influence on what we thought was cool without us even realizing it.

Case in point: MTV, which is the longest running, self-promoting commercial since the introduction of the Disney Channel in the 1950’s. It is obvious now that MTV should no longer be called “Music Television” as there are no longer any music videos shown on the station. MTV uses its airtime to promote themselves and it is also used for others to promote themselves to the $150 billion market who watches MTV’s programming. The commercials shown are also a promotion for MTV’s shows like The Hills and other commercials are for the products teens would most likely be buying like iPods or Xbox 360. Through this influence of sitting there, watching, and retaining, teens then suddenly want to reflect some look they see or want the products being shown.

It’s hard to put all the blame on MTV when teens are hit with media everywhere they go. In classrooms there are computers where the media world can be accessed, on the walk to school there are billboard and ads for products, on the radio there are promotions for bands and products, and it continues. But teens now seem to be numb to fact that they are constantly being hit with media trying to mold their minds. Almost every teen now has in their backpack a cell phone, an iPod, and a digital camera. With the cell phone they have the power to access all their friends and (with the popularity of the iPhone) the Internet. With the iPod they have access to movies, music, and TV. And with their digital cameras they have the power to document themselves and upload it to the Internet and the cycle starts all over again.

Now that I have left my angst teen phase and avoid MTV like the plague, I like to think I have found my identity but I will never truly know whether it was on my own choice or because of the media I have chosen to access.